A “lovely” library once threatened with demolition will now be used by a local school.
Higher Bebington Library will now be taken over by the COOP Academy Bebington who will use the facility for educational purposes. This is subject to an agreement with Unilever due to a historic agreement over the site.
The library in Bebington was one of nine libraries closed by Wirral Council as part of sweeping budget cuts in 2022.
A number of the libraries have since either moved into third-party hands or been sold off to balance the council’s books.
Higher Bebington Library was at one point threatened with demolition if talks to transfer it failed to materialise by December 9 2022.
Bebington councillor Judith Grier urged the council not to demolish the “lovely building” and “not to take a rash decision that cannot be undone.” A petition against demolition got nearly 900 signatures.
It was then decided other options for the library should also be brought forward with support from all political parties. Final talks moved ahead in January 2023 and councillors at a July 19 committee meeting agreed to allow the COOP to take over.
A report ahead of the committee said, “Transferring the asset has several education and community benefits which will benefit children and young people in terms of educational attainment and community benefits for local people who will be able to access and use the facilities outside of school hours, at weekends and during holiday periods.”
The COOP will fund any works to improve the building and Wirral Council will set aside £60,000 to support the new business plan for the takeover.
Cllr Grier welcomed the news thanking officers for their work. She said, “It’s a good outcome for the building and it’s a really good building,” adding the new provision would “benefit our young people.”